A heart beating.... one child's life, in your family line,
will be the beginning of uncertainty for all BaSatai.
Eighteen years for the curse to ripen, gates begging to open.
All it takes to destroy the Parallel Divide
is to spill the cursed one's blood and so death lies.
St Michaels School for the Gifted and Talented,
17 years later….
It’s not me! I’m not cursed… am I?
Denial. Sharp and real. Why didn’t she believe it? She could smell the curse in her blood. Armani Radnelaq refused to accept the curse living within her blood. Something deep down inside her knew it couldn’t be true. Making them believe it too wasn’t going to be easy. They were coming to take her home to begin a BaSatai life amongst them, with close protection at her beck and call. She wasn’t ready to leave just yet, not when she couldn’t find acceptance here on Earth.
Since St. Michael’s exclusive doors had opened in early twenty-ten, the once cozy town of Greensleigh, Vermont, had boomed with enrollments and an influx of new locals from various different backgrounds had set up home. The hectares of wild, lush forestry was a perfect training ground for St Michael’s fortress of a college spanning out across the land. The call for students drew in every kind of talent from musicians to dancers, athletes, mathematicians; you name it, they were all here at St. Michael’s. They all had one thing in common: extraordinary talent, some were even geniuses. Armani’s gift was not exceptional in her eyes, not when she had an unfair advantage: she wasn’t human. Elijah, her adoptive father, had enrolled her in the elite school before the doors had even opened, though she had protested quite loudly that he shouldn’t. She was yanked from public schooling and thrown into a whole new arena, completely against her will. She loved Elijah and wouldn’t go against him but she didn’t have to agree with everything.
The sun was unusually high in the sky, it flickered a red-purple right before her, the image of a pupil dilating and glinting at her, before changing back. She sat up, knocking the textbooks piled across her desk onto the floor beside her. She blinked a few times as she squinted out the window, shocked by the supernatural change in the sky before her eyes.
“Watch it, bitch!” Lily pushed her desk forward, rising to confront Armani.
“Woa!” a student hooted. “Fight!”
The boredom of the ethics class livened up with students scraping their chairs closer, turning around from where they had been lounging moments ago, now alert and immersed in the argument.
Armani rolled her eyes and stood to her full five-foot-eight height, towering over the petite Lily. “What’s your problem?”
Mr. Borgan came to his feet in a rush, his ruddy cheeks turning bright red. “Armani! Lily!”
Lily planted her hands on her slim hips, skimming her gaze up and down the length of Armani. “You’re my problem, freak. Go back to whatever country you came from! Useless slut. Look at you, a mess with your long hair pulled up in a ponytail all the time. I can’t believe we used to be friends.”
Most of the class erupted with shocked gasps at Lily’s insult. It was probably the most excitement they had seen in a while. Several turned away in disgust, determined to get back to their work. Some stared at Armani with pity, grateful they weren’t the target of Lily’s attention.
She remained calm on the outside though deep down, it cut her bad being singled out as different. Students hushed each other waiting for her reply. No one ever defended her when it came to the Primpers, too afraid of becoming a target themselves.
Mr. Borgan held up shaky hands. “Girls, this is not appropriate! Take your seats. Pick up your books, Armani.”
She wanted to flatten the childlike Lily back into her place. “I was born here… ”
“And your papa looks so much like you.” Lily giggled, pressing her hand to her mouth, glancing around at everyone to keep their attention on her.
Armani controlled the urge to growl, her eyes narrowed at Lily for bringing Elijah into their argument. His African-American heritage was an obvious contrast to Armani’s exotic look, with her olive skin, chocolate hair, and round, almond eyes. She was also a lot taller than the average girl, with rounded curves on her strong frame. Everyone knew she was adopted, it wasn’t a secret. Elijah had always been up front with her about her BaSatai background from the minimal knowledge he had.
“Have you looked in the mirror lately?” Armani questioned, pointing out Lily’s oriental heritage.
The girl’s cheeks burned red. Her eyes narrowed even further into slits. Lily came from wealthy Chinese parents. Her dead straight, jet black hair was cropped in a sharp bob to match the latest posh trend, long at the front to her sharp angled jawline, and super short up the back. She wore all the latest fashion and had three minions to terrorize the St Michael’s elite students. From the stormy look on Lily’s face, Armani had managed to score one against her.
Marchina, one of Lily’s followers, tugged at her hand, her puffed up curls bouncing around her narrow face. “Sit down, Lily.”
The class remained silenced by the obvious taunt.
Marchina looked uncomfortable in the midst of their argument, glancing at Armani before tugging on Lily’s arm again, trying to yank her down. Marchina had a full head of thick, curly dark brown hair, was more chubby and not a typical popular girl, but her parents’ wealth kept her high up on the scale next to Lily with designer clothes purchased from Europe and New York. Her whiny voice irritated Armani whenever she opened her mouth.
She bent down, picking up her books. They had once been childhood friends until junior high and puberty hit. Armani kept growing, while Lily remained almost childlike in her figure. And then one day, Lily stopped talking to Armani and it was never the same between them. They had become enemies as if they had never been friends at all since they were little girls.
She slammed her books down on her desk, bang, the echo reverberating in the classroom. Students jumped in their seats, a few gasping in shock. She cringed as they all stared back at her, horrified. Her strength could have smashed the books through the table, she needed to take more care and learn how to control the fire in her more.
Mr. Borgan took his seat when Armani plonked down into her own chair. He waved his hands for the students to turn around and get back to work. His eyes remained wide and scared of any further confrontation, but the diversion from the boredom was an eye-opener for some students, while some others promptly fell back asleep.
Lily sneered, dusting her Sass and Bide jeans down around her skinny legs. Her almond eyes twinkled with triumph before she spun around, flicking her finger for one of her friends to put the desk back into place. Marchina scrambled to do Lily’s bidding, pissing Armani off even more. She wondered what hold her former friend had over these pathetic followers.
Armani flipped her book open to the spot she had been pretending to read before. Anger simmered deep within her for the way Lily continually targeted her. The class settled down and resumed what they were doing before: nothing.
“Mr. Borgan?” a student whined. “I’ve done this ethics case study, can I leave?”
Armani sat up, silently berating herself for not thinking of that idea to get out of the class so she could have a smoke. Her fingers itched to grab a cigarette out and light it up in the middle of the class; nothing was keeping her interested.
Damn, I’m bored.
The teacher continued to read his computer magazine behind a textbook. “No, do the next case study. Do all of them if you are such a whiz at it. Damn talented kids,” he muttered under his breath.
Deflated, Armani shrank back down in her seat. No one was leaving the class. Still, her mind remained preoccupied.
I’m not the one… I can’t be.
The curse awakened sometimes, pulsing through her veins as a call out to her enemies. But Armani still sensed it wasn’t her they should be protecting, instinct niggled at the back of her mind and all the way in her gut, screaming that it wasn’t her.
“Okay, class.” Mr. Borgan came to life at the front of the classroom, snapping her out of her thoughts. “Use the questions in the ethics case at the end of the chapter to make some conclusions of your own on how the case between this doctor’s choice affected external factors. You guys are the geniuses so work it out.”
Armani rolled her eyes at such a lame case study. This ethics class had almost bored her to death. The BaSatai should worry about that! Mr. Borgan, a rotund, lazy teacher, couldn’t even inspire the students in his class with a challenging lesson.
As much as she hated school, especially the ethics class she was currently stuck in, she loved the physical education and sports program. Her body was not tested physically in the sports program nearly enough for a BaSatai as she always held back so as not to give away her supernatural skills, she forced herself to be the best at what humans could possibly be.
Armani scratched her neatly manicured nails down the table, zigzagging a pattern across the top, which she could easily vanish with a flick of her finger. She rarely practiced her BaSatai skills, preferring to ignore them instead. She refused to acknowledge or even accept her true self.
The clock above the classroom whiteboard clicked over and over, dragging out longer than usual in the stuffy room at St. Michael’s. Nothing was about to make this class move any faster or become bearable. Not even the ceiling fans could take away the unusual heat in autumn.
Why is it so hot? She fanned herself, trying to blow away the boredom.
Glancing around the room, she tried to block out the intense sounds penetrating her senses. Soft snoring rumbled against her eardrums. She could tell it was Mop, as he was affectionately known by everyone. He sat back, with his floppy brown hair covering his eyes and his legs stretched out in front of him. Mop was a real genius. He managed to ace every class with flying colors even though he slept through most of the lessons. He was only twelve years old.
The Mowie triplets, experts with the violin, piano, and every other instrument you could name, were reading a glossy soap magazine. Their identical features were amazing to compare, though Armani was able to tell them all apart, the BaSatai in her was able to spot the slightest difference. Alicia had a small indent of darker toned skin at the corner of her temple and her blonde hair was the tiniest bit darker than her sisters. Vanessa Mowie’s left earlobe had a dark mole and her voice was more softly spoken than her sisters. Carmel’s eyes, though exactly the same blue as both sisters, her pupils had flecks of grey in the depths, Armani noticed. The Mowie triplets were some of the nicest students in her grade. Even though they didn’t speak to Armani directly, being so shy, she liked them anyway.
The Primpers, sitting in front of Armani, were filing their acrylic nails. None of the Primpers were talented or gifted. Somehow, they managed to score a placement at the school with a whole lot of money paying for a refurbishment and sports center. The three girls made Armani’s life at school a living hell on Earth along with their psycho aggressive bitch of a leader, Lily Wang, determined to target her. Lily and Marchina had Robyn and Callie to make up the remainder of the Primpers. Robyn was more of a tomboy, her slobbish, mousy appearance no match to the other three. She made it into the Primpers’ group despite her sour behavior by default being friends with Callie. Lily wanted Callie as a friend and without Robyn, Callie wasn’t willing to follow Lily in her gang of bitches. Callie had arrived out of the blue only a few months before. She was the typical American kid from the Upper Eastside, New York with designer clothes, credit cards, and four different cars. Honey-blonde hair framed her oval face with the deepest brown eyes. Armani didn’t really have anything against Callie, she was not so much one of Lily’s followers and rarely joined in tormenting others.
Armani watched the blades of the fan circle spin around and around, her eyes zooming in with unearthly ability. She longed to be free of high school as she was occupied with her fate; they were coming for her - willing to die for her.
Lily knocked her chair back a few times, bumping it into Armani’s desk with a high-pitched giggle. Marchina smirked, shaking her head, her bush of hair bobbing around on her tiny head while Robyn and Callie rolled their eyes and continued to file their nails. Lily stopped banging her chair when Callie broke a nail and needed to vent about it.
Armani ignored Lily. Her nails scraped grooves into her desk as her conscious fought against a much deeper issue of life and death; sacrifice. She glanced down at her palms, the lifelines swirling into three different paths; thick blood seeping through the creases. Her fingers curled into fists, wiping away the forced imagery appearing so real.
No blood would stain her hands. She would make sure of it.
The whooshing of the fan thrummed continuously, her ears beating with the rhythm. Pens scratched against paper, but nothing could distract her from her thoughts. Her current life of calm non-existence on Earth remained peaceful, but all she had ever known was about to change.
Laying her head on her palm, she shook off the restlessness. Her fingers itched to pull the crumpled packet of cigarettes from her bag and light one up right there in the middle of the classroom. Instead, she stared out the window overlooking St. Michael’s expansive campus, trying to distract herself from the need to suck smoke into her lungs.
“See, girls, this is one way of getting rid of a foreigner,” Lily sneered, once again swinging back on her chair to bump into Armani’s desk.
Armani fumed. “If you don’t stop banging your chair into my desk… ”
“Armani!” Mr. Borgan snapped.
She was too angry to listen to the teacher this time and forced Lily’s chair forward with a sharp push. Lily and her minions burst into laughter. Several students groaned.
“I’d rather be a foreigner than a Mary Dulce wannabe,” Armani said, just loud enough for everyone to hear, regretting the berating comment the moment her lips opened.
Lowering herself to Lily’s psychotic level was not how she wanted to be. Mary Dulce, the classless, B-grade celebrity determined to be a socialite around the world, had been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons: being photographed with no panties, caught at clubs with drugs, coming out of hotels drunk, and worse. Everyone in the classroom stared at Armani, horrified at her comparing Lily with Mary Dulce.
Lily jumped up with a squeal, whirling around to strike her. Armani ducked, pushing her desk forward, knocking her back down on her backside.
Mr. Borgan snorted, beyond speaking any words, air whistled out of his nose like a steam pump. The minimal hair on his shiny head bristled on end. His mouth snapped shut and clicked open with a huff; his eyes bulged as he pointed to the door.
“Get out of my class!” His face turned bright red once again. “Armani, out! You’re trouble, missy. Lily, sit back down!”
“Finally,” She muttered under her breath, ready for that cigarette.
“What did you say?” Mr. Borgan stood up, slamming his hand down on his desk.
Armani’s steady gaze met Mr. Borgan’s eyes. He swiveled back, still frowning, sinking back down into his seat. The control with which she forced him back was minimum, although still there and visible for everyone to see if they opened their eyes to the supernatural.
Lily protested as she resumed her own seat. “Mr. Borgan!”
“Be quiet, Lily.” Mr. Borgan rubbed the back of his neck, confused and not completely sure what just happened. “Or you can go to the headmaster’s office with her.”
Lily glared at her, keeping her lips together. Smirking, Armani gathered her books, stuffing them down into her backpack, the squashed packet of cigarettes visible at the base of her bag.
“Goodbye, freak,” Lily whispered over her shoulder, her eyes crinkled in a nasty glare.
“I’m not the one still stuck in this class,” Armani snapped back just as quietly.
The nasty look disappeared from Lily’s perfect heart-shaped face. “You don’t belong here.” Lily tapped her fake nails.
The thick sound of someone knocking on the door thumped in Armani’s ears. Her nostrils flared with a fresh male scent. She glared at the door, her ears alert, her eyes pulsing in and out in focus with the tingle of muscles in her hands, flickering at the tips.
Lily frowned, looking from Armani to the door. She shook her head and a cruel laugh escaped her plump lips. Armani’s attention snapped back to her enemy. Lily shrank back, her eyes narrowing.
“Yes?” Mr. Borgan didn’t bother to look up, still absorbed in his computer magazine.
Armani pushed through the aisle of desks to get to the door. It swung open and she tried to squeeze past, but a new kid filled the doorway and wasn’t budging out of the way.
Sensations rippled and burned every one of her muscles, warmth flickered down her throat. Everything caved in on her; scratches of pencils grated against her ears, the whispering gossipers hissed louder. Armani’s pupils zoomed in on the door panel; she could see every grain through the paint. She snapped around and focused on the new student, his t-shirt shimmered almost as if the fabric moved every time his chest lifted.
“Ah, you must be the new student. What’s your name?” Mr. Borgan lifted his head up, waving him into the room; he shifted through the mess on his desk looking for the new student’s paperwork. “What are you still doing here, Armani? Get to the headmaster’s office!”
She ducked her head, signaling for the new kid to get out of her way when his eyes connected with hers, blue depths so pure and vibrant staring back at her. A crooked grin tilted his lips.
Armani froze to the spot, unable to move. Her breath tightened in her lungs, shivers of awareness ran down her spine, the sudden energy zipping through her body announcing the shimmer of recognition.
He was taller than the average kid and several inches taller than her with golden blond hair with a hint of silver specks standing up in all directions. His hair was shaved close on the sides with a pattern of unusual zigzagging tracks. Warmth enveloped them, his eyes almost smiling at her.
“Armani.” Her name rolled over his tongue with familiarity, the slightest unusual accent in his voice.
She let out the breath she had been holding. His lips tilted into a familiar smile, though she had never met him before. Trying to push him away, her wrists locked against his chest and every hard muscle beneath her palm came to life. The vibration smoldering underneath the surface of his clothes radiated on her palm. His lean fingers fluttered across her hands, pulling them away from his chest, the warmth of his touch lingering on her skin.
Fear. He had come for her. Excitement. One of her kind was here. Pain. She wasn’t ready. Doubt. I’m not the one.
Again, the energy force zapped between them. She skimmed a glance over her shoulder. Lily was the only one glaring at her, too nosey not to watch. Ice-cold prickles settled in her stomach uncomfortably, it was too soon for them to come for her. Her head cleared with a break, his name quivering on the tip of her tongue.
“Karhl, let me pass,” she hissed.
With another hard shove, Armani still couldn’t leave. The moment between them remained relatively unnoticed, the teacher still fumbling through the papers on his desk.
Karhl. The hum of his voice against her ear defied logic, his mouth didn’t move, but his voice was so vibrant in her head.
His lips turned into a bright smile. “This is my name, Karhl. I like it.”
“What? Move, get out of my way,” Armani forced out through gritted teeth. “I’m gonna get in trouble.”
Karhl shrugged his wide shoulders and winked as he stepped to the side. In her hurry, she tripped forward. Armani tried to brace herself, but instead she lifted up in the air, flipping to her side and landing clumsily in a heap, skidding across the floor and knocking into the wall between the lockers and staircase. She shook her head to clear the wave of nausea, her eyes snapping to his. Karhl closed the classroom door, shaking his head, his eyes laughing down at her. He was unimpressed by her skill yet amused.
“Jerk,” she snapped.
He didn’t even bother to check if she was all right. She couldn’t believe it. He had stuck his foot out on purpose. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a hand was held out for her to take. She ignored the offer of help, scratching the back of her head where she had bumped it. There was no blood.
“What the… ” Armani trailed off, surprised by another new face, another BaSatai; this one with a serious look on his face.
The difference between this guy and Karhl was obvious in the way her heart pounded a thousand times a minute. Warmth spread in her insides when he looked at her.
No, no, no! Why now?
Her emotions, too fragile from two shock arrivals, were making her giddy; it wasn’t really her heart responding to his smile.
Jet-black hair stood on end like Karhl’s, with similar track patterns on the sides. They were complete opposites. In her view, Karhl’s golden appearance paled in comparison to the olive-tanned skin, dark chocolate eyes, and lean solid build of the BaSatai waiting for her to take his hand. Armani’s heart tripped and fell – just at the wrong time.
He waited for her to take his hand. She took in a refreshing breath, allowing the cool scent of him to overwhelm her senses in a most enjoyable way. She slipped her hand into his. Their first touch sparkled with fuzzy warmth. His eyes brightened. He pulled her up as if she were weightless. The closer she stood to him, the more nervous she got. Taking a step back, she braced one hand against his chest and backed against the wall. Her fingers skimmed across the fabric of his t-shirt and jeans, amazingly soft and warm before her hand dropped away.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice smooth and deep.
She nodded, speechless again in a different way. The accent in his English wasn’t as obvious as Karhl’s, but it was still there.
He lifted a hand as if to touch her cheek, but instead he dropped it back down. The energy was there again, quivering beneath the surface, stronger, more intimate than the connection with Karhl.
“Yep, no - no problem. Just in a bit of a hurry,” she muttered, glaring at the closed classroom door.
He tried to speak, stumbling at first and then rattling off in an unusual foreign dialect. She blinked, surprised by the outburst. He was wearing crisp new clothes; brand new jeans and a bright green t-shirt that was pulled too tight against his broad shoulders and chest.
After a moment, he ran his fingers through his hair, mussing it up as he tried again. “I’m Rafael Austen… Call me Rafe if you like. Armani, right?”
Rafael’s eyes radiated as he spoke, mesmerizing her. She couldn’t stop staring even as heat warmed her cheeks, she couldn’t look away. There was a force about him. He didn’t have to say a word, his eyes spoke volumes of what was in his heart. She liked him too much, too much for a BaSatai cursed. Reminder of the curse was all it took to snap out of her scatterbrained mood. Armani picked up her bag, a little shaky.
“I know who you are,” she said, talking to the floor, “and why you’re here and I’m not interested.” That should have been enough to put him in his place, but she made the mistake of looking back into his chocolate eyes. “I… I… ” All thought was lost as he stared back at her.
“What do you know?” he murmured. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
She settled the backpack over her shoulder, frowning. The craving for the cigarette disappeared with him so close. Armani loved the way he made her feel so secure, safe, and loved all at once. In normal circumstances, she would be gushing at finding someone she liked, but his presence wasn’t usual; he was here to protect her and even die for her if necessary. This she refused to accept.
“I’m not cursed; you should go and find whoever it is who has the curse. I’m sure I’m not the one,” she told him. “This isn’t happening with me.”
He chuckled. “You don’t believe you are a true BaSatai?”
Armani tilted her head at his misinterpretation. “I didn’t say I’m not a BaSatai, I’m just not cursed, well maybe, but I’m not the one. And you shouldn’t have to protect me or make a choice to die just to save me.”
The warmth of his breath brushed against her cheek as he leaned closer. She closed her eyes, a turmoil of emotions spiraling in her blood, pumping fast. Her heart moved at double time. She just hoped he couldn’t sense how much she felt for him.
“I can smell the curse in your blood,” he replied. Her eyes snapped open to meet his serious gaze. “You are the one. We’re here to get you ready. He will have to make you ready, your Guardian.”
“Who?” Armani glanced over his shoulder to the classroom where Rafael gestured. “Karhl?”
“Is that his name?” Rafael smiled for a brief second.
The softness in his tone went right to her heart. “What are you talking about; he came with you, didn’t he?”
“He is so lucky, born for you alone. His name is a great honor coming from your lips. Was it difficult?”
Armani wasn’t paying attention, too busy daydreaming about kissing him. Rafael’s smile brightened with a knowing look, his perfect white teeth flashing at her. He looked away, a little shy with understanding as her face brightened and burned even redder. The BaSatai ability to interpret emotional and physical responses was clear in his eyes.
“What are you going on about?” she snapped, horrified he could in fact sense her feelings, she stamped down the emotions, determined to block him out.
“His naming,” he explained, leaning against the locker with an expectant look. “Was it difficult, or did it come straight to your mind?”
She rubbed her brow. “Not really. I just knew his name.” Armani fell back against the wall, her hands clamping into fists. “Are all the BaSatai here?”
“They are coming.” Rafael’s dark brow furrowed, his olive-toned skin darkened a little as he straightened and gazed at her confused. “What happened to make you so… so… ”
“Reluctant?” Armani provided the word he seemed to be looking for, her emotional upheaval under control. “Go home, Rafael. I don’t want you to die just to protect me. None of you should have come for me. Decipher the curse, break it, and bring me home. Otherwise, leave me alone.”
“Who said I plan on dying, when we’ve only just found each other?” he scoffed, truly offended.
Butterflies twinkled in her stomach. Her soul ached. Rafael’s eyes darkened, the meaning of his words melting her hard resolve.
“Protecting you is an honor, but we also do it for ourselves,” he told her blandly. “Not just for you; our lives are all at risk.”
Somehow the sense of his declaration didn’t make her feel any better. He took a step closer still. Armani pressed against the wall, afraid that if she touched him, her heart would fall even harder.
“Choice? There is no choice. We must protect you; it’s our sacrifice because one witch’s vindictive purpose has put us all at risk. The BaSatai tolerate uncertainty, but it's not in our nature. We all feel it, ten times more than you. We’ve trained to protect you.”
He was right, but Armani didn’t want to know. She’d been the odd one out, different for so long. Her height, her curvaceous body, and even her hair appeared different in every way. The BaSatai were the same as the humans, singling her out as different.
“I’ve got to go,” she told him.
Rafael stared down at her, his eyes searching her face. Armani took a step forward and pressed against him, thigh to thigh, chest to chest. She absorbed the cool ice scent of him making her heady. His lids closed for a second, hiding the burning glow in his pupils. The base of his chin brushed against her cheek. The rumble within his chest reverberated against her body. The breath she had been holding came out as a sigh, her hands flittered for the briefest moment against his chest, and he automatically moved away from her.
Armani stared at him for a second before she walked away, knowing he watched her as she left. Those intense eyes burning right into her, creating a warmth of something she had never felt before and was trying desperately to avoid.
She had never been interested in any of the boys at school before. Then bang, Rafael showed up. A BaSatai. One of her own kind and she was stumbling to put two words together.
Escaping to a hidden corner of the school, Armani rummaged through her backpack for the squashed packet of cigarettes. The forbidden zone was where all the smokies hung out for a puff in between classes. She checked her pockets for a lighter. The last cigarette in the packet slipped out, a little bent from being crushed in her bag. Armani lit the cigarette, puffed, then sucked in a deep breath of smoke.
In all honesty, she hated this stupid habit she had taken up. But Lily Wang and her Primpers had driven her to the constant need to hide away and what better way than to put a cigarette in her mouth. Armani craved invisibility.
Footsteps pattered nearby. She froze, quickly hiding the cigarette butt behind her back. The funny thing was no one ever noticed the smell of smoke around her and she always wondered why. Elijah never noticed because he had lost his sense of smell years ago, but teachers and students didn’t even notice. That was lucky for her; the habit had taken control and smoking was a serious rule-breaker at St. Michael’s. Everything was a serious rule-breaker here.
No drugs, no alcohol, no smoking, no sexual misconduct, no truancy, no swearing, and no bad grades or you’re gone, but the list was not limited to just the above; it went on. For Armani, it was all about not getting caught.
The cigarette started to create a bitter taste in her mouth. Armani blew out the last breath of smoke, holding the butt between her thumb and index finger; she prepared to destroy it. Staring at the butt, she rubbed it between her fingers and it exploded into sparks of orange and white, flittering into a puff of smoke.
Armani laughed a little at her attempt. On the odd occasion, her abilities had its uses. She grabbed her bag, looping it over her shoulder, and headed for the office to her usual seat outside the headmaster’s office. As she passed a classroom, a black shadow standing over a student appeared in the reflection of the glass. The smoky mass drifted around the class from one student to another and then shrank down into the floor.
Armani shook off the unsettling feeling. If the BaSatai had come for her, so too had the S’teuqoubs, ready to destruct the divide. Death was coming, hard and fast. Armani just hoped she was ready when it came knocking at her door.